Critical radio host shot to death in Peru

New York, May 5, 2011–A Peruvian provincial radio host known for his harsh criticism of local authorities was shot to death on Tuesday in the northern city of Virú, the local press reported. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged authorities to investigate the murder, establish whether the motive was related to his work, and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

Julio Castillo Narváez hosted a news show on Ollantay Radio in the city of Virú, in the province of La Libertad. Narváez was having lunch at a local restaurant when he was shot at least six times by unidentified individuals, the press said. The assailants escaped after killing Castillo, according to press reports.

Castillo was known for his criticism of local authorities, the regional press group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS) said in a statement on Wednesday. The media reported that Castillo had received repeated death threats via phone. After one of his recent reports on a local politician resulted in vandalism at the station, Ollantay requested police protection for both Castillo and the station. Police did not provide any, IPYS said.

Local police have opened an investigation and are looking into Castillo’s reporting on local authorities as a possible motive, according to IPYS.

“Peruvian authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into the slaying of Julio Castillo Narváez, and determine whether his criticism of local authorities was a possible motive,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “The perpetrators of this crime must be brought to justice, and authorities must guarantee that critical journalists can work without fear of reprisal.”